I picked this one for a special reason – I once was in a creative writing class taught by the author probably fifteen years ago. She was a really wonderful teacher – positive and totally passionate about her subject. So when I saw her name on a book that passed through my hands I held onto it.
This novel is narrated by Adrienne Haus, a fifteen-year-old girl stuck in her small town of West New Hope, DE for the summer. A knee injury kept her from taking a summer-long canoe trip with her best friend Liz, and her single mom has roped her into a mother-daughter book club that will be reading books off her junior year AP English suggested reading list.
So, not an off the chain summer, if you follow me.
The worst part is her fellow book club members – popular gorgeous CeeCee, activities-driven Jill, and Wallis, the unknown girl who recently moved to town and has skipped several grades and is surrounded in mystery. They aren’t friends and have absolutely nothing in common. And then of course, the moms. Enough to make you grind your teeth in your sleep!
It’s a difficult summer for Adrienne for sure, compounded by the usual teenage growing pains, and in typical fifteen-year-old fashion, she makes a spectacular mess of things. But the author tells her story with wit and humor, and a lot of love for all the girls in the book club.
The best thing about this book is that Schumacher doesn’t dumb down her writing for a teenage audience. Adrienne is a clever girl and her observations are often pithy and humorous. She also uses the novel to explore reading good literature and the comparisons these girls make between the books and their lives.
I was so delighted to find this book, as I hadn’t thought of my teacher in years. Now I have found she has published quite a few books, both for teens and adults. I’ll be hunting them down soon!
Also, Julie, if you read this, thanks for being such a great teacher. I’m still writing, and it’s a lot better than the crappy short stories I was writing in 1999.
Favorite line: “I had a low and irregular forehead. Even Liz once told me I had the hairline of an australopithecene.”